Thursday, 22 December 2011

Mary, Where have you been?

Three months after Gabriel left Mary, she returned to talk to her parents with her strange and wonderful news.
'Hi, Mum and Dad.'
'Mary! Thank goodness you are back. Where have you been? Joseph's been wanting to have the wedding and you weren't even home. Oh, I've never been so embarrassed in my life!'
'You should have been here getting ready. I've tried to work on your dress but I can't finish it without you here. Joseph's impatient. He wants to know where you've been. We couldn't even tell him.'
'I told you Mum I had to go and see Elizabeth. And guess what?'
'Yes, yes, yes. You told me that but why would you stay there three months? We've assumed you went somewhere else.'
'I stayed to help her. She's pregnant.'
'What! I thought you went to see cousin Elizabeth...'
'Yes. And she is due to have a baby any day. An angel visited Zechariah. It's so exciting.'
Mary's mother sinks into a chair. 'But they can't have children and she's older than me!'
'I know. With God nothing is impossible!' 
Mary's father fidgets. He's nervous. 'Enough women talk! Mary get busy. I think Joseph will be here looking for you tomorrow night. You must be ready for the wedding by then.'
'There won't be a wedding tomorrow, Dad. Things have changed.'
'Changed!' Mary's Dad's face flushed pink. 'It can't change. Nothing's changing. We've been paid the bride price. It's locked in. You will be married.'
'Mary, honey. I thought you liked Joseph. It's natural to get a bit nervous, but you'll be very happy I'm sure. Now, come try on the dress.'
Mary wipes a tear from her eye. 'I love Joseph. It's not that. It's about what the angel said. Remember I said I saw an angel?'
Mary's Dad paused, about to go out the door. 'What's this got to do with angels? Get on with your preparations, Mary. I won't hear any more of this preposterous rubbish!'
'Dad, wait! I have to tell you. I'm pregnant, as the angel...'
Mary's Mum drops in a dead feint.
Her Dad slams the door. 'You're what?'
'The angel said I would have a baby and...'
'Are you sure, you're pregnant? Wait 'til I get my hands on that Joseph!'
'Dad, he doesn't know. He didn't do it. The angel said God would overshadow me.'
He grabbed the door handle and yanked the door open. 'You're blaming God! You're adding blasphemy to adultery. You'll be stoned.' The door slammed.
Mary helped her Mum of the floor. They sat together crying. 'Mum. You must believe me. Elizabeth says my baby is the Messiah. Her baby will make way for him. The angel said my baby will be a King; that I was the most blessed of women.'
Her poor mother is inconsolable. She puts her face in her hands and weeps.
'But, Mum. You always taught me it was the highest honour to be the mother of the Messiah.'
'Oh, Mary. It will be, but the Messiah's mother will be married by a prince - a prince in David's line. She'll live in Bethlehem.'
'The angel said all that. He will save His people. And...and He's growing inside me. Me! Oh, Mum, why would God choose me.'
'But, what about Joseph?'
'I'm waiting to see what he does.'
'What if his family decide to stone you? Have you thought of that?'
'I don't know how God will do it, Mum. But this much I know. I'm a virgin and I'm pregnant. I guess He can look after all the details.' Mary walks over to her wedding dress. 'I think I'll turn this into baby clothes fit for a King.'

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Miracle of Christmas

Creator of the world,
           Lord of Lords,
           Almighty God
Contracted to a span
Somehow compacted into a man

This tiny babe
Born in poverty
Died in controversy
Rescued the world
Somehow set me free to be 'me'!

 Jesus… This surpassing treasure
   This Great mystery
   Contained in clay pots
    Living by His Spirit
   Dwelling in the hearts of men!

 Can you grasp it? Can you believe it?
 The Almighty God…
Not out there But in here!
 All knowing, all seeing, all wisdom,
Light of the World
Not unattainable but within

All strength, all courage, all love, all truth
All this right here within me.
 And all He asks is …     I believe it!!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

It's all in the name

As I write, our new friends are in Singapore enroute to their home in Kent, England. We had three lovely days with them and all because of a name. 
It started last Friday.
'Hello? Are you Steve's wife.' The distinctive, pommy accent bounced down my phone.
'I am.'
'We're here in Brisbane and we'd love to meet you. Blimey! Isn't it hot!'
We organised to meet them Sunday afternoon. This relationship began in England in 1841 when Malcolm's great-great-grand father had a little brother called Solomon Wanmer, who emigrated to Australia on the ship, 'Nimrood', in 1855. Steve is Solomon's great grand son. 
No one in Solomon's family has seen any relatives from England from the day he sailed until we shook Malcolm's hand on Sunday. There was a reconnection of the families about forty years ago through the mail and then contact began through facebook last year.
We invited our new friends/family to stay at our house. What a wonderful time we had, showing them our beautiful city and trying to catch up on one hundred and fifty years of history!
The great surprise was the family similarities. Both cousins had followed similar career paths. They shared a common interest in cars, both old and new. Both love the paper, but refuse to read it after someone else has left the pages untidy. The list goes on. We have discovered a large,new family, carrying similar interests and even similar names.
What a powerful model is family. It is the backbone of our culture, the fabric that holds society together. It is the model that God used to establish His church. He sent Jesus as the first of many sons. I count myself as one of them. I hope others can see the family likenesses in my life as they compare me to Jesus, the same way as we saw the family resemblances this week.